Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

When love just isn’t enough…


Whether it’s mergers or marriages, sometimes love just isn’t enough.  rila

That may be what people at the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association are feeling today after the two groups said they ended merger talks.

“RILA and NRF have ended discussions aimed at merging the two organizations. NRF and RILA will devote all resources to continuing the work they are each doing to address the serious issues that America’s consumers and retailers are facing in today’s economic environment,” the two boards of directors said in a joint statement.

nrf-300x73At first it seemed so good — like a merger made in (retail trade group) heaven.  And they spoke so fondly of one another, too.

Slump means market share gains in E-commerce


AMAZON/RESULTSWe know the U.S. recession is gloomy for retailers, online stores included, but at least a third of these e-commerce sellers say they’re taking greater market share amid the slump. 

That’s according to and Forrester Research in a marketing study based on their annual State of Retailing Online report. is a division of the National Retail Federation.

Check Out Line: A little less luck of the Irish


USACheck out leprechauns and the rest of us spending less green this year.  According to the National Retail Federation‘s St. Patrick’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, people celebrating the March 17 holiday plan to spend an average of $32.80, down from an average of $35.04 in 2008.  Still, that spending on decorations, food, drinks and clothing is expected to total $3.29 billion.
Who will spend the most?  According to the report, the 25-34 year-old crowd is expected to spend an average $39.42 per person.  Those 18-24 years of age are cutting back by nearly 15 percent, expecting to spend $36.05 each this year, down from $42.20 last year.

“Increased concern about the economy among young adults has forced many of them to pull back on discretionary spending,” said NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin.

Check Out Line: A little less love this Valentine’s Day


ITALY/Check out retail executives’ worries coming true.

At the National Retail Federation’s annual convention earlier this month, retail executives and analysts said they were worried there would be no big event to get consumers back into the stores and get them shopping until the back-to-school season.

Still recovering from the holiday spending and watching jobs evaporate by the day, it appears consumers don’t intend to jump back into shopping for Valentine’s Day, the first main holiday since Christmas.

Sales tax holidays to the rescue?


What’s one way to get reluctant shoppers back into the stores? Give them a sales tax holiday — or two or three.

That’s what the National Retail Federation is urging the government to consider as part of the economic stimulus plan being debated in Washington.ECONOMY-DOLLAR/PIZZA

Check Out Line: Even NRF sees 2009 sales down


Check out the National Retail Federation’s sales outlook. clouds1
Even the retail industry’s trade group is expecting sales to fall 0.5 this year. The NRF, known for its optimistic sales forecasts, is expecting the first decline since it began tracking sales in 1995.
Oh, and things could even get worse.
If the government does not quickly pass an economic stimulus package, “then all bets are off,” NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells told Reuters.
With the U.S. in the throws of a recession, preliminary figures showed that retail sales rose 1.4 percent in 2008, well below the 3.5 percent increase the NRF originally forecast. 
The year culminated with the worst holiday season in four decades or more, according to some analysts.
Retailer bankruptcies, job cuts and store closings have continued into 2009, and the NRF forecast is the latest sign that things are not expected to get better any time soon.
Also in the basket:
Hershey profit beats estimates, sticks by 2009 view
UK retailers predict worst February on record – CBI
Hartmarx seeks to stay whole (WWD, subscription required)

Check Out Line: Halloween spending not so spooky!


halloween.jpgCheck Out more people escaping the troubled U.S. economy by turning themselves, their children and their pets into ghosts and goblins.

More than 64 percent of people plan to celebrate Halloween this year, up from nearly 59 percent last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual Halloween survey.